The White House has approved a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal that will require so-called “black boxes” in every vehicle sold in the United States.
Under consideration for the last year, the White House's ruling will clear the way for the NHTSA to make event data records, or EDRs, standard equipment in every vehicle sold in America.
Although a victory for the NHTSA, the general public won't be greatly impacted by the ruling. More than 91 percent of all vehicles sold today are equipped with EDRs, although the NHTSA rule will soon bump that figure to 100 percent.
EDRs help both the NHTSA and the automakers decipher what happened just seconds before and after a vehicle crash, but the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – a trade group representing car makers like General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen – warns that steps must be taken to ensure privacy.
"Event data recorders help our engineers understand how cars perform in the real world but looking forward, we need to make sure we preserve privacy. Automakers do not access EDR data without consumer permission, and any government requirements to install EDRs on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy," spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist told The Detroit News.
The NHTSA hasn't revealed when the new mandate will take effect, but it will likely be a few model years before EDRs become standard.